Goodridge Roberts, self-portrait, 1953
The child of a literary family, Goodridge Roberts was born in Barbados of Canadian parents from Fredericton.
He enrolled at the École des beaux-arts in Montreal in 1923. Disliking its staid academic approach, however, he left for New York City to study at the Arts Students League (1926-28), where teachers such as Max Weber introduced him to new ways of structuring space and to a daring palette inspired by Cubism and Fauvism. The city’s galleries and museums offered him a glimpse of the work of the Post-Impressionists and the art of Paul Cézanne.
“For the first time”, wrote Roberts, “I saw painting that moved me”.
After a period in Ottawa he settled in Montreal. Then, following his term as the fist artist in residence at Queen’s University at Kingston (1933-36), Roberts returned to Montreal. He taught at the school of the Art Association of Montreal from 1939. As an official war artist with the Air Force he painted in England in 1943-45. The, he painted in France on a Canadian government fellowship in 1953-55. He died in Montreal in 1974.
Roberts painted landscapes, still lifes and nudes.
He painted with his characteristic directness and imaginative use of colour.
He was ARCA (Associate of Royal Canadian Academy of Arts) in 1952 and RCA (Royal Canadian Artist) in 1956.
Source: Anne Newlands, Canadian art from its beginnings to 2000, Firefly books, Canada, 2000; R. H. Hubbard, J.R Ostiguy, Three hundred years of Canadian Art, Ottawa, The National Gallery of Canada, 1967